Acute stress hyporesponsive period in nestling Thin-billed prions Pachyptila belcheri
When confronted with acute stressors, vertebrates show a highly conserved evolved sequence of physiological, hormonal and behavioural responses, including the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Many young vertebrates show a stress hyporesponsive period, where they exhibit a reduced glucocorticoid response. Here, we analyzed the ... stress response of nestling Thin-billed prions Pachyptila belcheri and compared chicks with different previous experience with capture and handling. We found that chicks had a stress response, but baseline and peak levels were below those measured in adults. The stress response of the chicks was rapid and followed by fast recovery, such that the total amount of corticosterone released in response to handling was very much lower in chicks than adults. These results indicate that nestling Thin-billed prions exhibit a stress hyporesponsive period. This was not due to habituation, as CORT measurements at baseline and elevated levels were similar in chicks handled daily and naïve chicks. The comparison with other published studies showed that the stress response of chicks usually peaks earlier and lower than in adults, and researchers should take care to measure stress-induced levels at an appropriate sampling time.
Original publication in
Journal of Comparative Physiology A 195, 1 (2009), 91-98